Greek weightlifting champion Thodoris Iakovidis returned to Greece from Tokyo on Monday night and was greeted to a hero’s welcome by family and fans, including the Deputy Minister of Sports, Lefteris Avgenakis at Athens international airport.
Ioakovidis had in recent days moved the Greek athletic community as well as the general public after an emotional interview where he announced his intention to retire after failing to secure qualification in the weightlifting finals at the Tokyo Olympics.
During his interview, Ioakomidis admitted to feeling abandoned by the State and not having the financial support an athlete at the highest levels of the sport deserves.
Despite his intention to retire, he has since been asked by colleagues, his coach and fans to reconsider and remain in the sport.
His final decision will depend on whether or not the State and Athletic bodies could come up with solutions for challenges faced by many Olympians in his position.